Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Police Have Difficulties Dealing with Criminals Murdering Each Other

Hanneke Ekelmans, head of operations of the Amsterdam police, says that the police requires additional legal support in order to prevent criminals from murdering each other.  It should be possible, she says, that criminals who are the targets of violence be kept from the streets much like mentally disturbed people.  She added that not only are the police charged with the task of preventing murder but of ensuring a safe environment for all citizens.  In recent killings, bullets hit buildings and cars of innocent people.  Ekelmans concluded that, “it is very frustrating that we can do so little.”

Monday, June 29, 2015

Disclosure: In 1951, Jewish Children Kept Out of Classes Attended by Dutch Princesses

Historian Bart Wallet has found in the archives of the Dutch Jewish community (NIK) that in 1951, Jewish children were not permitted to attend classes where two of the then-Queen Juliana’s daughters went to school.  The Jewish community at the time checked the matter.  It turned out that the initiative wasn’t taken by the Queen, but by the school principal.  The Queen knew about it, however, and did not react.  Wallet explained that the Dutch environment after the war was so unpleasant and problematic for the Jewish community that its leaders decided not to go public with the scandal.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Politicians Threaten Police Unions with Court Case

Minister of Security and Justice Ard van der Steur, together with Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, have asked the police unions to cancel their planned “go-slow action” against the Tour de France, which starts next week in the Netherlands. They have warned the unions that if they continue with their plans, they will be taken to court. One of the planned actions is a major traffic control on the publicity caravan, which drives ahead of the cyclists.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Government Fails in Regard to the Mentally Troubled

The Hoekstra Commission has investigated and concluded that the police, the public prosecution and mental healthcare officials have failed in assessing the danger that mentally troubled people can cause to society. The Commission says that it is urgent that the situation be improved.  It investigated what went wrong with handling the mentally troubled individual who is now suspected of having murdered both former Deputy Prime Minister Els Borst as well as his own sister.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Military Serving Abroad Are Increasingly in Need of Help

The National Broadcasting Organization, or NOS, says that one can learn from data which the Minister of Defense has sent to parliament that the Dutch military, which fulfill missions abroad, have problems at levels which continue to increase.  In 2014, a total of 1,668 complaints were received as against 1,258 complaints received in 2013. The Minister of Defense supposes that this is due to the opening of a special service for veterans.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Vacations for Caregivers of Family Members Increasingly Difficult

Mezzo, the national organization for caregivers of family members and volunteers, says that it has become increasingly difficult for these people to take vacations.  It now takes months to find temporary substitute caregivers, whereas in the past it only took weeks.  There are 2.6 million such caregivers in the Netherlands, which help family members, friends and neighbors. According to Mezzo, about 450,000 are overburdened by their responsibilities.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Twenty-five Percent of Dutch Employees Stay at Home During Vacation

The NIBUD institute has found that an increasing number of Dutch employees stay at home during the summer vacation.  They cannot afford to go on holiday elsewhere.  In 2012, only 18% stayed home. Of those with low income, 20% do not even make day-trips within the Netherlands due to lack of funds.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dutch Cutbacks on Subsidies for the Elderly Will Hit Holocaust Survivors

The planned reduction of subsidies for the care of the elderly, to take place later on this year, will hit Holocaust survivors particularly hard.  The idea behind the cutbacks is that they will force family members to become more involved and take greater responsibility.  Many holocaust survivors have no family members.  An article in the daily AD mentions that in the small Jewish old age home in the Hague, there are only six such people. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Director of National Lottery Expresses Regret

Frans van Steenis, the director of the national lottery, has expressed his regrets about his company’s unclear communication policies in the past.  One of the issues he referred to was the judgement of the Dutch Supreme Court which said that the organization had purposely misled the public between 2000 and 2008.  The Supreme Court ruled that the national lottery had made misleading statements regarding the chances for players to win, the number of prizes won, and the value of the prizes. http://www.volkskrant.nl/economie/staatsloterij-biedt-excuses-aan-voor-ontstane-onrust~a4058769/

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Minister of Defense: Dutch Army Has to Learn to Fight Again

Minister of Defense Jeanine Hennis (Liberal Party) has written to the Dutch parliament, claiming that the Dutch military will have to learn to fight again.  The government will have to supply additional funds to the Defense Department so that it can buy munitions and spare parts. Thereafter, the military can follow an intensive training program and prepare themselves to fight, for instance, well-trained Russian soldiers. Over the years, the Netherlands has reduced its artillery and abolished its two tank battalions.  It has also sold the heavy fighting vehicles of two other battalions and replaced them with Jeeps. Most Dutch helicopters are unable to fly in areas where an enemy would have anti-aircraft missiles set in place.  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Prosecution Department Can No Longer Improve Its Effectiveness

In its annual report for 2014, the prosecution department says that it has reached the maximum performance which is possible within its available budget.  This was said chief public prosecutor Herman Bolhaar.  He added that the department has been told that by 2018 it has to reduce its budget by a quarter, and that in these circumstances, one cannot expect further improvements. The department says that there are substantial risks of an attack in the Netherlands by radical elements.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Police Commissioner: Killings in the Amsterdam Turkish Underworld are Worrisome

Chief Commissioner of the Amsterdam police, Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, has said that the conflicts within the Amsterdam Turkish underworld are worrisome. He added that this is not only a concern for Amsterdam, because killings also take place elsewhere in the Netherlands and in Istanbul.  Aalbersberg said that besides the Turkish killings, there are also two other types of killings in Amsterdam:  those related to Moroccans, concerning a load of cocaine which has disappeared, and those related to the older Dutch criminal networks.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Manufacturer of High-Speed Trains: Dutch Railways are Incompetent

Maurizio Manfellotto, the CEO of the Italian Ansaldo firm which built the high-speed Fyra trains, has appeared before the Dutch parliamentary inquiry committee. He said that NSFSC (the daughter company of the Dutch state railways, NS) which ordered the Fyra trains was totally incompetent and uncooperative. Manfellotto added that there was far too little time to test the trains.  He added that the problems which occurred and caused the withdrawal of the trains’ use were due to poor maintenance by NS.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dutch Banks Have Fifty-Five Billion Euros’ Worth of Problematic Loans

The auditing firm PwC has found that the Dutch banking sector has fifty-five billion euros’ worth of problematic loans on the books.  Of these non-performing loans, four billion euros’ worth are held by the six largest Dutch banks.  The banks have created a provision of 48% on these loans and are trying to sell these loans at reduced prices.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Board of State Railways Tried to Prevent Parliamentary Inquiry

At the beginning of 2013, the board of the Dutch state railways, NS, tried to prevent a parliamentary inquiry about the failure of the high speed Fyra trains.  This became public when the temporary chairman of NS, Engelhardt Robbe, appeared before the parliamentary inquiry commission. One of the commission’s members, Ton Elias (Labor), quoted a confidential report of a meeting where Robbe was present. Elias asked, “is it acceptable that a company tries to prevent such an inquiry?”  Robbe said that he didn’t remember the meeting.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dutch Government Delays Publication of Study about Muslim Anti-Semitism

Minister of Social Affairs Asscher (Labor) has delayed the publication of a study of anti-Semitism among Muslim youth in the Netherlands. He wants to “investigate in greater depth the results” before publishing them. From leaked information it became known that 62% of the Muslim youth “do not think very positively about Israel.” Among them, 12% hate Jews, and the percentage is higher among the Turkish immigrant community than among Moroccans.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Defense for Children: Netherlands Violates International Agreements

In 2014, the Netherlands was condemned by the European Court for Human Rights in a case where it had not given a woman from Surinam a permit to stay in the Netherlands in order to be able to take care of her children, who have Dutch nationality.  The organization Defense for Children says that there are probably thousands of similar cases where the Netherlands doesn’t give residence permits to foreign parents of Dutch children in the Netherlands.  This is a violation of international agreements.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Conflicts Increasing between Parents and Schools

Parents are hiring lawyers, in increasing numbers, in order to solve conflicts with their children’s schools.  Insurers for legal assistance and lawyers report a rapid increase in the number of cases being opened.  One legal insurer said that it had several hundred cases in one year. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Bailiffs Receive Suspicious Letters from “ISIS”

In the Hague and Amsterdam, various bailiffs’ offices have received letters containing a powder which have been signed by “ISIS” and “Islamic Caliphate”.  The letters say that the bailiffs should stop their work because they take money and goods away from poor people, which is forbidden by the Holy Koran.  The letters claim that its contents are heavily contaminated with radioactive material from the supplies of the Syrian army. The police have no clue regarding the origins of the letters but do not believe they were sent by ISIS.  The powder seems innocuous.  The Royal Association of Court Bailiffs is worried about the increasing aggression toward its members.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

All Dutch Embassies Warned About Mohammed Cartoons to be Televised

Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, intends to use the party’s television time over the coming weeks to show cartoons about Mohammed. These cartoons were made during a drawing contest in Texas, where Wilders had spoken. Shortly thereafter, two men opened fire on the participants. The two terrorists were killed.  In order to prevent anti-Dutch actions in Muslim countries, the Dutch Foreign Office has sent instructions to 140 diplomatic representations abroad.  The Dutch want to avoid endangering the safety of their citizens or the boycotting of their companies abroad.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Valet Service at Amsterdam Airport Abuses Clients’ Cars

The Groeten van Max television program has reported that employees at two valet services at Schiphol Airport abuse their clients’ cars for their own purposes.  One example shown was of a client who returned from holiday and found that his car had a hundred more km in the meter than when he left.  Another client received a high fine for speeding while his car was supposed to have been parked.  An employee was found to have used a client’s car to bring other clients to and from the airport.  Yet other employees used clients’ cars to go to restaurants or sports events.  The valet companies’ owner does not want to take responsibility for the incidents, as he says that these incidents rarely happen.  However, he claimed that the employees in question will be dismissed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Former Dutch Minister Lobbied for Libyan Businessman with Ties to Gaddafi

The Dutch prosecutor’s office has seized the belongings of a Libyan businessman who is suspected of having removed 28.5 million euro from Libyan state funds.  An investigation is underway.  Former Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Ben Bot has intervened on behalf of the Libyan who had close ties to the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi.  It has become known that Bot received payment for his involvement. Bot says that he had checked and that the Libyan could not be blamed for any wrongdoing. Bot received the assignment to lobby on behalf of the Libyan from the wife of the former British Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.  She works for a London law firm which advises the Libyan businessman.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Chief Executive of Dutch Railways Forced to Resign after Scandal

Timo Huges, the chief executive officer of the Dutch state railways, NS, has resigned, effective immediately. The supervisory board has withdrawn its support of his position. NS announced that its investigations had found that statements Huges had made about his contacts with a subsidiary were “inaccurate and incomplete”. This is a euphemism for the fact Huges had falsely denied that he had leaked confidential information about a competitor to the NS subsidiary.  Huges will not receive any severance pay.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Groningen: Bombs Explode Near Supermarkets

Yesterday, there was an explosion near a supermarket of the Jumbo chain in Groningen, yet the police could not find anything.  A few days ago, a bomb exploded in another branch of the same chain. A month ago a bomb was found near yet another branch but it did not detonate. The police think that since the bomb-laying took place at night, the perpetrators’ goal is not to harm people but rather to cause damage.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Quality Inspector Warned Dutch Railways about Problematic High Speed Trains

A number of high speed Fyra trains were commissioned for use by the Dutch and Belgian railways. A quality control inspector of Lloyd’s Register Europe sent the Dutch railways, NS, a weekly report regarding many problematic issues with the trains. Both NS and AnsaldoBreda, the Italian manufacturer, were informed that while the trains were properly designed, there were many faulty aspects regarding their assembly. When the trains were sent to the Netherlands, there were still hundreds of problems with them. At the time, the implementation of the project had already been delayed for five years. The trains were taken out of service after only forty days in use, and returned to the manufacturer, never to be used again in the Netherlands.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Top Management of Dutch Railways Knew About Spying Concerning Competitor

The Dutch authority which supervises monopolies, ACM, has written an extremely negative report about the Dutch railways.  It says that the top management of the state-owned Dutch railways, NS, has broken the law by spying on a competitor in a bid to obtain the concession for bus and train services in the province of Limburg. It concerns a project worth 2 billion euro, which is to take place from 2016-2031. The president of NS has admitted that the law has been broken.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dutch Windmills at Risk of Falling Apart

Owners of windmills in the Netherlands are short 5 million euro per year, which is what is needed to maintain and restore the windmills.  These results are from a report conducted by the mill owners’ organization.  Close to 200 owners of windmills have been interviewed about issues such as finance, structure and various uses of their mills.  All in all, there are 1,200 wind and water mills in the Netherlands.

Nationalizing the Police System has Failed

Two years after restructuring the regional police forces into a national unit, the project is in poor state.  There is a shortage of competent managers, the computer system is not functioning well, and the percentage of sick leave has increased. The costs of the reorganization have doubled from original estimates to 460 million euro.  In the initial period after the restructuring, the percentage of cases which have been solved also declined.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sexual Discrimination in Dutch Academia

Female academics are regularly the victims of sexual discrimination.  Four female professors at Leiden University have launched a website with information and advice about sexual discrimination.  They have published a document which mentions how male academics obtain promotions but female academics in the same circumstances are refused promotions.  Pregnant female academics are being asked whether abortion is an option, or whether they haven’t heard of contraceptive measures.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Tax Authorities Helped Post Delivery Company to Avoid Paying Taxes

The Dutch postal delivery service, PostNL, has admitted that it had a secret deal with the Dutch tax authorities from 2011 to 2013, which allowed the company to avoid paying social security and pension premiums, as well as sick leave and holiday pay.  The employees were deemed freelancers even though they only had one employer.  The Volkskrant daily estimates that, in this way, the company saved 15 million euros. The tax authorities refuse to comment on these claims.  Labor MP John Kerstens has asked Junior Finance Minister Eric Wiebes to clarify the situation.